By Erin Klingler (email@example.com)
Submitted: October 2001
Summary: For the millionth time, Clark finds himself discouraged and wondering why he has to be so different. Will a glimpse of tomorrow give him the strength to go on?
Author's note: This was inspired by the ending of the episode "We Have a Lot to Talk About" when Clark tells Lois, "I used to come up here a lot by myself and just…drift. Not part of the stars, not part of the earth…not really knowing where I fit in…until I met you." I thought I'd write about one of those stints in the clouds. This takes place late in Clark's high school days after he's learned to fly.
As usual, any and all feedback/suggestions welcome.
"Life is so unfair!" I found myself yelling at the brilliant full moon and the sprinkling of distant stars as I finally broke through the clouds and was surrounded by the black, velvety night sky. But the moon continued to gleam brightly and the stars just seemed to twinkle back merrily, completely unconcerned with my recent plight.
I sighed. Why would they care? Why would *anyone* care? Besides my parents, of course. They cared, they were supportive. They were my lifeline in an otherwise bleak existence, where I felt otherwise completely alone and different. But was it enough? If my parents were the only ones in this world who understood, would it be enough to make me happy for the rest of my life? I frowned. Somehow, selfishly, I doubted it.
Rolling over, I folded my arms behind my head, using them as a pillow against the cushion of air beneath me, and stared up into the night sky. I always came here when I was troubled. Sometimes the clouds billowing around me and the moon and stars winking down at me made me feel better, but sometimes they didn't. Tonight, I suspected, it would be the latter.
For the millionth time, I found myself wondering, 'Why can't I be like everyone else? Why do I have to be so different?'
'Special,' my parents called it. That's not what *I* would call it. More like scary, frustrating, astonishing…and lonely.
Yes, lonely. It wasn't like I could just rush out and talk to my friends about my daily frustrations with flying, with lifting things no one else on earth could, with seeing through walls and other objects, or having to give myself hair cuts and shaves because my hair was too strong for any earthly scissors or razors to cut. How would they possibly understand?
True, I'd felt like this for a long time now, but somehow, today was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back.
The day had started out as any other one. I woke up, got dressed, ate breakfast, caught the bus to school, and went to my classes. But then in third period P.E., everything started to take a turn for the worse.
The guys and I had been playing an impromptu game of football as we waited for our P.E. teacher to join us on the field. But then, as I found myself getting caught up in my favorite sport, I went to block one of my friends as he tried to come through the line, and he hit me with a sickening thud and toppled to the ground, clutching his shoulder and moaning. Thankfully, I found out later, he'd only bruised his collarbone, but still, I felt horrible.
And if that hadn't been enough, there'd been the eye test after lunch.
As my class assembled in the nurse's office for our annual eye test, I stepped to where I was directed to stand by the nurse and followed her instructions to read the smallest letters I could on the eye chart. Feeling confident, I was concentrating on the very last line when I heard a sudden gasp from the nurse as the eye chart suddenly, inexplicably, began to smolder, and the corners of the paper began to turn black and curl in on themselves. No one knew the truth about what started that fire, but as she and another nurse hurried to put out the fire amid the gasps and exclamations of surprise from my classmates, I found myself wishing that the earth would open up at my feet and swallow me whole. A few minutes later, when the fire was out and the excitement had died down, I repeated the eye test as the nurse instructed me to. But this time, I purposely refused to let myself concentrate on the letters on the eye chart—therefore getting most of the letters wrong—and was promptly written a prescription for glasses.
'Who knows?' I thought darkly. 'Maybe I'll just get that prescription filled and wear those glasses as a constant reminder of what I can do if I'm not careful.'
But then, to top the day off, there'd been the incident at home after dinner.
I'd been out in the field when I'd heard my father calling to me from the barn, telling me he needed some help. His voice sounded harried, so I broke into a run in an effort to get to him more quickly. But then suddenly, by no intention of my own, I found my surroundings becoming a flashing blur as I crossed the hundred yards or so in less than a second flat, and found myself crashing through the side of the barn.
I'll never forget the look of surprise and dismay on my father's face as he stood there, a piece of milking equipment in one hand and a long, black hose coiled up in the other as he stared at me as I stood just a few feet inside the wall of the barn, the long pieces of shattered wood scattered on the ground around my feet. Of course, he hurriedly assured me (probably after seeing the look of horror on my face at the destruction I'd unintentionally caused) that it was no problem, that it was something easily fixed.
But his reassurances had fallen on deaf ears. I didn't want to be reassured. I wanted to be normal! I didn't want to constantly worry about hurting my friends, incinerating eye charts, and crashing through walls. I wanted to be able to talk openly with my friends, without worrying about letting secrets escape. I wanted to have normal teenage worries, like acne and voice changes. I wanted to go out on dates like my friends, and not have to worry about watching my every step, careful not to ever let anything slip out about the things I could do. But it seemed that it meant I was going to be destined to live a life of solidarity, a life without what I truly wanted: someone to love, who understood me and loved me in return, in spite of my freakish qualities.
True, my parents loved and understood me, but for some selfish reason, that didn't seem to be enough. I wanted more. I wanted to know that I would be able to live a normal life, and, more importantly, that I wouldn't have to suffer through it alone. But even as the notion seeped into my soul, I knew that was never going to be possible. I lived in a world where, in spite of what people said, being different meant being damaged goods.
Sinking further into depression, I glared up at the heavens as another heavy sigh escaped my lips. 'Life just isn't fair,' I thought, 'especially to me.'
Feeling mentally exhausted, I closed my eyes and let myself drift along the billowy clouds surrounding me. I deliberately slowed my breathing, hoping to encourage sleep to come so I might lose myself, for a little while at least, in the comfort of my dreams. It wasn't long before the familiar, comforting darkness crept across my mind, and before I knew it, I was asleep.
In that mysterious state between awareness and sleep, I found myself surrounded by half-conscious, half-understood thoughts and images. I let them flit across the darkness, content to fall deeper into my sleep. But then suddenly, I caught a glimpse of something in the darkened recesses of my mind that I couldn't dismiss.
It was the image, just a glimpse, really, of a woman, with dark brown hair and flashing brown eyes. For some reason, I got the impression that I knew her, that she was someone important in my life.
As I concentrated on the image, willing it to become clearer in my mind, a handful of scenes flashed through my head: us conflicting over a scrabble game word, us arguing over a conference table, us debating over the ethics of breaking into a building. From the images, I got the impression we argued a lot. And what was even weirder, it seemed that I liked it.
Eager to see more, I let the images continue. I saw myself reaching out to her, brushing a strand of her silky, dark hair back from her face and tucking it lovingly behind her ear. I saw myself squeezing her shoulder sympathetically, welcoming her into my arms…kissing her.
An unexpected tingle swept through me as I narrowed in on the scene. In my dream-like state, I could practically feel her breath warming my face as I lowered my mouth towards hers, eagerly anticipating the touch of her lips on mine. The images continued, and I saw a myriad of scattered scenes: jumping out of an airplane after her, flying up from below to rescue her from where she dangled from a building's flag pole, flying across a sky drenched in golden sunset hues of oranges, reds, and yellows, with her cradled lovingly in my arms. I caught a glimpse of white and realized, with a start, that she was wearing a wedding dress.
My eyes flew open and I lost a little altitude. When I'd recovered, I tried to make sense of what I'd just seen. A wedding dress! Did that mean…?
I sat up on my invisible bed and quickly replayed the last image in my mind. As I did, a warm, comforting feeling washed over me, and in that instant, I knew.
The woman with the dark hair, the one with the beautiful brown eyes and the fiery temper was supposed to be mine.
I don't know how I knew, I just knew. Someone had meant for us to be together, and we were both growing and learning and moving towards that day when we would meet. Was it destiny that was marking our paths, moving us forward towards each other with every passing day?
Suddenly, everything I was going through seemed bearable, now that I knew I wasn't going to be alone my entire life. I had someone incredible waiting for me. I didn't know her name, or where she was from, or how we would meet. I just knew that when I did, I would know she was the one. Everything in my life would fall into place, and things would be perfect. So until that day, I would forever hold my dream's images close to my heart. Whether or not what I'd just experienced had been some strange, accidental glimpse into the future, or some inspired vision that I'd been meant to see in order to give me the strength to go on, I felt ready to face tomorrow, now that I'd had a glimpse of what tomorrow held.
Feeling better than I had in months, I looked up at the full moon hanging in the velvety night sky and noticed that the stars around it seemed to be winking at me merrily. I felt an excited grin stretch across my face. With the special glimpse of what my future held, I knew that tomorrow was going to be beautiful indeed.
With a full heart and a renewed sense of hope, I stretched out my arms and headed for home.
THE END :)